Four Re:wild initiatives to follow in 2022, Four Rewilding wins to celebrate from 2021
on January 12, 2022
Cover Photo by Robin Moore
Success in conservation isn’t a race, not even a marathon — it’s more like navigating a Wipeout obstacle course. It takes time. Strategy is important. Sometimes you have to bob-and-weave your way through the obstacle course, plotting out a totally new path to get where you need to go. It makes a difference when you have teammates cheering you on and allies in your corner.
At Re:wild, conservation wins are often the culmination of years of planning and collaboration, negotiation and tireless hard work. Incremental steps are necessary to scale up and replicate the work our partners are doing to create even bigger impact. Here are four wild initiatives to watch in 2022:
#SAVETHEOKAVANGO. More than 20,000 people have signed the open letter calling for an immediate moratorium on oil and gas development in the Okavango River Basin. Since October 2021, Re:wild has worked alongside local activists and community leaders like Reinhold Mangundu to raise the alarm about the activities of Canada-based oil company ReconAfrica, with support from Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen DeGeneres, Forest Whitaker and more. The most recent reporting from National Geographic revealed ReconAfrica allegedly broke Namibian law when it drilled on protected land in the Kapinga Kamwalye Community Conservancy, which borders the Okavango River. More to come in 2022 as this story develops and ReconAfrica looks to expand its drill sites. Photo by Peter Moore
#LOSTSPECIES. All around the world, across habitats, across taxa and for all kinds of reasons, once-discovered species have fallen off our radar. These lost species are animals, plants, or fungi that have gone unseen for years or decades and are feared possibly extinct. Before we can save these species, we have to find them first. Re:wild launched the Search For Lost Species in 2017, and has supported expeditions to find them ever since. Over the course of the past five years, intrepid explorers and scientists around the world have rediscovered one-third of our 25 most wanted lost species! It’s time for an update. Stay tuned!
GALÁPAGOS. Re:wild aims to restore biodiversity on at least 25 islands in Latin America’s Pacific region. How? By protecting at least 30% of each country’s waters and reversing the decline of at least 260 globally threatened species. This effort will take (at least!) a decade but we’ve already started, kicking off efforts on Floreana Island to bring back tortoises, mockingbirds, hawks and owls. We are also working with the government and partners to help the iconic Pink Iguana recover over the next several years. Sign up for our newsletter to watch this story.
ATELOPUS. In 2021, Re:wild was one of 40 organizations from 13 countries that came together this summer to create the Atelopus Survival Initiative and bring harlequin toads back from the brink of extinction. Our friend and colleague José Luis Pérez González from Fundación Atelopus (pictured above) was nominated to the Future for Nature Award for his work on harlequin toads! We’ll have more toad-y updates in 2022 that you won’t want to miss.
Every win and wild tale we get to share with the world would not be possible without our partners around the globe. It would also not be possible without you, Team Re:wild. There’s a reason fish move in schools, elephants travel in herds and wolves hunt in packs. We need each other to survive. Here are four key rewilding moments from 2021, brought to you by Re:wild and our esteemed partners:
The Universal Ranger Support Alliance, a coalition of global conservation organizations (including Re:wild), launched a five-year roadmap to bring reform, recognition and representation to the ranger workforce. We worked with Edward Norton to bring attention to the issues rangers face around the world through a five-part animated series. We also raised critical funding for rangers in Virunga National Park through a collaboration with Brave Wilderness and YouTube, which produced an original content series called Brave Mission (now at more than 6 million views)!
In December 2021, Re:wild and a number of international partners strengthened the climate resiliency of Belize (and the world) when we secured 30,000 acres of the Maya Forest Corridor for wildlife and biodiversity — the first and most critical step toward preventing one of Central America’s five great forests from being severed in two. Local stewards will help protect and manage the land. This is an incredible win for the wild, but the work is not done. More land must be conserved for the forest and wildlife to thrive.
Following our “F” Word campaign in the summer of 2021, fungi are gaining recognition—as is the need to prioritize them in conservation efforts. As our friend Giuliana Furci, the first female field mycologist in Chile and founder of the Fungi Foundation wrote in The Guardian: “For too long macroscopic diversity and species on earth have been referred to using the now obsolete term flora & fauna, or just plants and animals instead of fauna, flora & funga, or animals, fungi and plants."
As a part of our Conservation Pathways for Youth program, Re:wild and Planet Women proudly co-sponsored the launch of a powerful Green Careers Roundtable series and toolkit for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), led by National Wildlife Foundation (NWF). Planning is underway with NWF for a second roundtable event that will include Tribal colleges and be freely accessible to hundreds more Black and Brown students and professors across the United States for spring 2022.